Boxing is an ancient art. It can be dated back to 3rd millennium BC (Early Bronze Age). It was a common sport amongst many ancient civilizations, including the ancient Romans. Bareknuckle boxing was practiced in England as early as the 16th century.
Today it is one of the biggest combat sports in the world and for good reason. Boxing has many benefits, which include, raising your cardio levels, increased total body strength, better balance and improving your hand- eye coordination. One of the biggest benefits of boxing is better self-esteem and confidence.
My First Experience
I remember once as a kid I saw a crowd of boys gathered behind a shop, in a car park. Naturally being curious, I went over to see what was happening. In the middle of the crowd were two teenage boys, fighting. They looked around 18-19 years old. One was very large and muscular and the other was, well… quite the opposite. For the purpose of the story, I will call the bigger person 1 and the smaller person 2.
I remember watching the fight for a few minutes in amazement and shock, as I had never seen two people fighting in real life, on the street. I remember person 1 was very angry. Throwing wild looping punches at person 2. Person 2 (the smaller person) was doing something quite different that got my attention.
He was calmly throwing straight punches that hit person 1 every time, landing his fist square in the face of the bigger person. These punches from person 2 reached person 1 way before 1’s looping punches reached person 2.
As a result, 1’s punches never touched 2, because he was interrupted by a swift sting to the face that sent his punches off course.
The fight lasted no more than 2-3mins. It was stopped by two older men who happened to walk by. As a result person 1 left with a bloody nose and cut lip whilst 2 looked like he had never fought at all.
Needless to say, this got me thinking. I realised the fastest way from two points is in a straight line. In this case, the points being person 2’s fist and person 1’s face.
There are many different types of punches thrown in boxing. The punches have different uses. Today we will go over the 2 main basic punches that I believe everyone should know. You shouldn’t have to know all the punches to be an effective puncher unless you are thinking about becoming a professional boxer.
Just the 2 basic punches practiced to perfection will serve you very well in times of need. I do not advocate fighting and this is NOT intended for the use of fighting. It is for information purposes and if one wants to practice these moves as part of their workout routine, they can be a great tool for cardiovascular work. In any case, I believe it is better to know them and not need them, than to need them and not know them.
As Bruce Lee said,
“I fear not the man who has practiced a thousand different kicks once, I fear the man who has practiced one kick a thousand times.”
There are many different stances in martial arts. A boxing stance is where the strongest leg and hand is behind the weaker hand. So if you are right handed (stronger hand) then the left foot and hand are in front.
The two main punches that I’m referring to are, the jab and straight (also known as a cross).
That being said let’s get on with it . . .
A basic boxing stance involves the hands being held up to protect the chin and jaw area. The palms should be facing towards the face with the fists loosely clenched.
For protection, your chin should be tucked down towards your chest. Look up with your eyes and not your head, so you do not expose your chin. The chin and jaw area are common places for landing strikes.
A clean shot landed on the chin usually results in a knockout. If a punch lands accurately upon the chin, it can knock a person unconscious without much power at all. So protecting the chin is vital in boxing.
You should always have your elbows tucked closely to your sides, as this protects the body.
The jab is the first strike you will learn and the most underrated one in my opinion. When the jab is executed properly it can generate amazing power and speed. Boxing punches can be numbered for training purposes. The jab is usually number 1.
A jab is thrown from the hand closest to the target. Start in a boxing stance, with strongest leg behind and knees slightly bent. Whip your left hand out to the target. Your elbow should be facing down and not out to the side.
As your hand travels outward rotate your arm clockwise (if jabbing with the left, anti-clockwise if using the right) so that your fist hits the target, with palms now facing downward. This should be done in a fast explosive movement.
Your jabbing side shoulder should always be raised when doing this to protect your jaw when you throw a jab. Bring the hand back to the starting position.
One thing to remember is to bring the hand back to the starting position, just as fast as you threw the hand out.
This should create a snapping effect like the ‘crack’ of a whip. Bringing the hands back to the starting position is important as it protects you from any returned punches.
Your opposite hand should always stay up and never drop. This protects the side of the face that you are not punching with.
Upon the extending of the arm, you should breathe out sharply through your mouth or nose. Your arm should not fully extend the arm to avoid hyperextension of the elbow. Instead have a slight bend in the elbow.
The Straight or Cross
This will be one of the most powerful punches for someone who is not a professional boxer. This is usually called punch
number 2. This punch is thrown with the backhand (strongest). Assume the boxing stance position, the same as the above stance.
Now push off the back foot and twist the hips so they are facing square on with the opponent. At the same time throw your right fist out in a straight line, turning the arm and shoulder, so that the fist lands on the target with palms facing down.
The same ‘whipping’ effect is what you should be aiming for. Remember to keep the shoulder up to protect the jaw whilst punching.
Never drop the hand on the opposite side either, KEEP it up for protection. Always practice like this to form a good habit of protecting your jawline area.
Whilst extending the arm, breathe out sharply through your mouth or nose. This helps increase the power of the punch.
Remember to bring the hand back just as fast as you threw it out.
Do not fully extend the arm to avoid hyperextension of the elbow.
Practice these punches on a boxing bag or in the air. They can be practiced singly and then in a sequence one after another (known as a one-two combination). You can get creative with these and throw combos to your liking e.g. 1,1,2 or 2,1,2.
You can put a timer on for 1 min intervals with 30 seconds rest in between and practice this combination for 3-5 mins a day. This is a great way for getting a cardio workout for beginners.
To practice the whipping effect you can tape a piece of paper to some string. Tie it to something so it is dangling, at your head height. Now practice the punches on this paper, trying to whip your fist out and in, as fast as possible. Eventually, you should manage to put a hole through the paper.
Have you managed to create a hole in the paper with the whipping effect? Leave a comment and let me know if you succeed!
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